2011–The 75th Anniversary of GWTW, the book, based in part on writings from the Mitchell family scrapbook, shown above.
Margaret Mitchell’s cousin is a leading expert on the culinary arts. Mitchell wrote her one book, Gone With The Wind, putting years of work into her masterpiece. Today Marie Nygren, a cousin, also writes, but she is writing in the 2010 popular venue: her blog. She’s spent years sharpening her craft. Though Mitchell did not like to cook–in fact she employed a woman who cooked for her and her husband John Marsh–she did love to eat good food.
One of her favorite restaurants to go to with friends or her husband was Mary Mac’s Tea Room, which had previously been owned by Margaret Lupo, Mitchell’s cousin, and Marie Nygren’s mother. Lupo, who was known for her delicious Southern dishes, helped to grow Mary Mac’s Tea Room into the huge success it is today, and under the current owner, John Ferrell it continues to thrive.
Ferrell wrote a cook book called Mary Mac’s Tea Room: 65 Years of Recipes from Atlanta’s Favorite Dining Room. Featured in the book were some of Margaret Lupos’ old recipes.
Mary Mac’s Tea Room Cookbook
Marie Nygren, who originally learned to cook from Lupo, is a member of Les Dames d’ Escoffier, the exclusive professional organization for cooks. She has a blog that deals with her cooking and has even appeared in national magazines for her expertise.
Though Nygren never met her famous aunt because Mitchell died at age 48 and Marie was not born by then, she has some family keepsakes including a letter from Mitchell. In that letter, Margaret Mitchell was commenting on a picture of her great-grandmother, Eleanor (Ellen) Fitzgerald. In the letter she marveled at one of the family traits the woman had, describing it as “pointed of jaw and square of chin.” That is the exact way she described her Scarlett O’Hara when writing Gone With The Wind.
Today Nygren runs a bed and breakfast in Serenbe (www.serenbe.com), a planned community in Georgia, owned by her and her husband. She brings in famous cooks for programs and puts on cooking events herself. Today on the Christmas Blog is a recipe for one of her desserts: Fig Cake. Fruit cakes have always been popular during the holidays, and with this recipe you won’t have to buy a boxed one.
Sally Tippett Rains, author of The Making Of A Masterpiece, The True Story of Margaret Mitchell’s Classic Novel Gone With The Wind. (www.GWTWbook.com)